Mary Silcox

Professor; Vice-Dean, Graduate, UTSC
MW 388 (Main), AP 242 (St. George)
(416) 208-2791 (Main); (416) 946-0652 (St. George)


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Research Keywords: Fossil primates, Paleocene, Eocene, Primate Origins, plesiadapiforms, brain evolution, cladistics

Research Region: North America (Wyoming, Montana)


Dr. Silcox is a vertebrate paleontologist, specializing on fossil mammals.  She is particularly interested in using the fossil record to understand the earliest phases of primate evolution.  Much of her work centres on the “Plesiadapiformes”, the first adaptive radiation of primates.  Appearing some 65 million years ago, plesiadapiforms diversified into over 140 known species, with a broad range of dietary and locomotor specializations.  Dr. Silcox regularly does fieldwork in the Western United States (Wyoming, Montana) to enrich the fossil record for this and other Paleocene and Eocene mammalian groups.  Particular areas of recent focus include the evolution of the brain in early primates, and clarifying the evolutionary position of Primates in the broader phylogenetic context of Mammalia.


Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, 2001)


2016 Bertrand, O.C.,  F. Amador-Mughal, M.T. Silcox.  Virtual endocasts of Eocene Paramys (Paramyinae): oldest endocranial record for Rodentia and early brain evolution in EuarchontogliresProceedings of the Royal Society B. 283: 20152316. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2316

2015 M.T. Silcox, E.J. Sargis, J.I. Bloch, D.M. Boyer. Primate Origins and Supraordinal Relationships: Morphological Evidence. Pp. 1053-1081 In (W. Henke and I. Tattersall, Eds.) Handbook of Palaeoanthropology, 2nd edition. DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-39979-4_29 1053

2015 C.L. Manz, S.G.B. Chester, J.I. Bloch, M.T. Silcox, E.J. Sargis. New partial skeletons of Palaeocene Nyctitheriidae and evaluation of proposed euarchontan affinitiesBiology Letters 11: 20140911.

2014 M.T. Silcox. A Pragmatic Approach to the Species Problem from a Paleontological Perspective. Evolutionary Anthropology 23:24-26.

2013 M.T. Silcox. Primate origins. Pp. 339-357 In D. Begun (Ed.) A Companion to Paleoanthropology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

2013. O’Leary, M.A., J.I. Bloch, J.J. Flynn, T. J. Gaudin, A.Giallombardo, N.P. Giannini, S.L. Goldberg, B.P. Kraatz, Z.-X. Luo,  J. Meng, X. Ni, M.J. Novacek, F.A. Perini, Z.S. Randall, G.W. Rougier, E.J. Sargis., M.T. Silcox, N.B. Simmons, M. Spaulding, P.M. Velazco, M. Weksler, J.R. Wible, A. L. Cirranello.  The Placental Mammal Ancestor and the Post–K-Pg Radiation of Placentals.  Science 339: 662-667.

2012. Silcox, M.T., T. E. Williamson.  New discoveries of early Paleocene (Torrejonian) primates from the Nacimiento Formation, San Juan Basin, New Mexico.  Journal of Human Evolution 63: 805-833.

2012. Ryan, T.M., M.T. Silcox, A. Walker, X. Mao, D.R. Begun, B.R. Benefit, P.D. Gingerich, M. Köhler, L. Kordos, M.L. McCrossin, S. Moyà-Solà, W.J. Sanders, E.R. Seiffert, E. Simons, I.S. Zalmout, F. Spoor. Evolution of locomotion in Anthropoidea: the semicircular canal evidence.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279: 3467-3475.

2011. Silcox M.T., C.K. Dalmyn, A. Hrenchuk, J.I. Bloch, D.M. Boyer, P. Houde.  Endocranial morphology of Labidolemur kayi (Apatemyidae, Apatotheria) and its relevance to the study of brain evolution in Euarchontoglires.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31: 1314-1325.

2010.  Silcox, M.T., A.E. Benham, J.I. Bloch.  Endocasts of Microsyops (Microsyopidae, Primates) and the evolution of the brain in primitive primates.  Journal of Human Evolution 58: 505-521.

2010. Silcox, M.T., J.I. Bloch, D.M. Boyer, P. Houde. Cranial anatomy of Paleocene and Eocene Labidolemur kayi (Mammalia: Apatotheria) and the relationships of the Apatemyidae to other mammals.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 160: 773-825.

Graduate Students

Administrative Service

Vice-Dean, Graduate, UTSC (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2021)